Government of Nova
gov.ns.caGovernment of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Municipal Affairs
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Indicator Definitions

Each indicator has a technical definition that describes how it was calculated. The definition explains the meaning of key terminology and what the indicator is measuring. It provides information to consider when interpreting the indicator results and other indicators that measure similar aspects of a municipality's performance.

Select an indicator to display the technical definition:


Deficits in the Last Five years (#)


1 or less in the last five years


Number of non-consolidated operating deficits in the last five years

Technical Definition

Non-consolidated operating deficits: When operating fund expenditures, including net financing and transfers to/from the operating fund and excluding amortization, are in excess of operating fund revenues.

• For March 31, 2012 year: FIR Schedule E - Annual Surplus/Deficit without amortization expense Line 1066300 (Note, this also does not include gain/loss on sale of capital assets and write downs of capital assets reported on Schedule GP1 through GP6)

• For March 31, 2013 year: Schedule E - Change in Operating Surplus/(Deficit) for Tax Purposes (no line number associated with this field)

• For March 31, 2014 and 2015 years: Schedule E - Change in Operating Surplus/(Deficit) for Tax Purposes (no line number associated with this field) and add back Schedule H: transfer to operating reserve – annual surplus Line 1066015


Deficits are an important indication of financial health for municipalities. All municipalities are required to prepare balanced operating budgets. Any deficits incurred are required to be repaid in the following budget year.


Several deficits in a 5 year period may indicate financial difficulty. However, results should be interpreted in context; unpredictable events beyond the control of a municipality can significantly affect its budgeted revenues or expenditures. Further investigation is required to determine the size and cause of any deficit.

Data Source(s)

  • Municipal Financial Information Return (FIR) - General Operating Fund (non-consolidated)

Related Indicator(s)

  • Reliance on Government Transfers
  • Residential Tax Burden (RTB)
  • Residential Tax Effort
  • Uncollected Taxes
  • Budgeted Expenditures Accuracy